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Seiki's Cheap 65" 4K HDTV Isn't That Cheap ... Yet

Seiki's budget 65" 4K HDTV may be priced to move, but waiting a few weeks could save you 35% or more.
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Seiki is poised to break records this December when it releases its latest 4K HDTV, the 65" SE65UY04. Priced at just $2,999 (MSRP), it's set to become the cheapest 4K HDTV in this size category. And while big-box retailers may use this "cheap" 4K HDTV to lure shoppers, we think early adopters should wait before making any purchase as this "affordable" TV isn't quite what it seems.

Seiki TVs See the Quickest Price Drops

Based on deals we saw for Seiki's last big 4K release (the $1,500 50" SE50UY04), we expect the 65" Seiki to drop 20% in price soon after its debut. In fact, it took just 10 days for the 50" SE50UY04 to see its first deal, which shaved $200 off its list price. Two months later, and the SE50UY04 had dropped in price by 35%. Because Seiki TVs generally see such quick and steep price drops, we expect 65" SE65UY04 pricing to follow a similar pattern. So, while it might cost $2,999 at launch in December, this 4K TV could quickly drop in price to a more reasonable $1,900 come February.

And if a potential $1,000 savings isn't enough to convince you to hold off on buying this TV, CNET found little to like about its predecessor, the Seiki 50" SE50UY04, saying it suffered from "light black levels, poor screen uniformity, and subpar video processing." And with no smart features, WiFi capabilities, or support for HDMI 2.0, you're essentially buying an outdated TV, albeit an outdated 4K TV.

If you want a good, cheap 4K HDTV, unfortunately, your only real option is to wait for holiday 2013 and post-holiday sales in 2014. Currently prices are still higher than they should be for these TVs and although models like the Seiki SE65UY04 will help drive prices down on name brand sets, it's still going to be a while before they're on par with the price of 1080p sets.

In the meantime, there are plenty of 55" to 65" 1080p HDTVs you can purchase for well under $2,999, many of which come with all the bells and whistles you could dream of, in addition to better picture quality. But if you're still curious about 4K or want a cheap 4K TV you can use for PC gaming, wait until the SE65UY04 drops in price. Unlike other TVs which can take an eternity to become affordable, this is one model that'll hit the discount bin very quickly.


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Senior Features Writer

With over a decade of experience covering technology, Louis Ramirez has written for CNET, Laptop, Gizmodo, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @louisramirez.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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2 comments
TV-Tastic
GRPenguin, you're exaggerating a whole lot because it didn't take that long but, the reason why high-definition TVs were so expensive for so long is because the process for making plasma and LCD panel televisions was entirely different from the standard CRT televisions that dominated the market for 60 years. This required an investment capital in all new factories, equipment, facilities, and technology. The reason why any new product cost so much when it's first introduced is because manufacturers are first trying to recuperate the capital investment costs. This is the same in every industry for example, take pharmaceuticals. A new drug can cost $30 per pill for a decade and then when the patent is gone and it goes into the generic market can be three dollars for 30 pills. The reason for this is that it costs millions to develop the drugs to begin with. Whereas the technology for 4K televisions is new, the television sets themselves and their displays and the production process is basically the same that it's been for the last decade. So, the sunk cost normally associated with the new product in this case, are already paid for. There's no reason why factories that make LCD or plasma TVs cannot also make 4K televisions.
GRPenguin
Just about every 4K TV has been rendered outdated by the new HDMI 2.0 standard being finalized... except the Sony X850A line and the Panasonic WT600. The latter even has DisplayPort 1.2 which would make it an excellent candidate for connecting to the upcoming Mac Pro except for the serious vertical banding problem on bright images. Though "With over a decade of experience covering technology" I do find it very odd that you expect the 4K prices to be on par with 1080 sets so soon considering it took 8 years for the price of a 50" TV to drop from $4000 to $600.
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